These days, experiencing a mega-ship’s full raft of options requires a willingness to pay extra — at the for-fee alternative restaurant, for the late-night room service and pizza delivery, for the opportunity to wear a bathrobe.
Sure, these extras are optional, but there are still certain fees that leave cruisers emotionally spent.
Among the 22 up-charge options included in a recent feature on nickel and diming, the two earning the most ire were for-fee main dining room grub and buffet food. Both earned 4.5s on the Nickel and Dime Scale (patent pending), which ranges from one nickel-dime (fair fee!) to five (death by coining).
Those two venues are sacrosanct, readers say, the last bastions of food included in the fare. On several of its ships, Royal Caribbean‘s main dining room menus encourage passengers to celebrate their cravings with a $15 filet or $37.50 surf ‘n’ turf — plus a 15 percent gratuity. Is nothing sacred from the intrusion of revenue streams? (Don’t answer that. Wait! Do answer that, in the comments below) Royal Princess, the first of two 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger prototypes, will debut in June 2013. Among myriad bells and whistles will be a pair of for-fee options in the buffet complex. These include a “crab shack” and a fondue area. The fee is TBD. The thumbs down verdict is not.
The most accepted? Gratuities (2.5), babysitting (1.5) and gambling (1.5), which somehow managed to garner more than one nickel-dimes, though we have no one to blame but ourselves for losing big at the 15-cent slot machine.
Oh, you thought everything should be included in the fare? See 20 great fee-free options that still are.
If you’d rather pay for everything up front — even if it seems like quite a bit more — a luxury cruise might be for you.
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